Virtual Parliamentary Questions

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© Parliamentary Recording Unit

During the lockdown period, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has continued to carry out all his Parliamentary duties virtually from his home in Barnehurst.

This includes speaking virtually in the House of Commons Chamber, and just yesterday (3 July), he asked two virtual questions to Ministers. The first of these was in the regular oral questions to the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP.

Sir David asked: “Wearing a face covering is an easy way to help protect us all from coronavirus, especially in more confined spaces such as public transport. Will my right hon. Friend join me in urging my constituents in Bexleyheath and Crayford to make that small change which can help us to control the virus and save lives?”

The Secretary of State responded: “My right hon. Friend is right about the importance of face coverings. We have seen very high levels of compliance. According to the Office for National Statistics, on the week of 26 June, it looks like 86% compliance was in existence. We did say that in the early days we would ensure compliance was enforced gently, but I inform the House that TfL, Network Rail and British Transport police will be tightening up on that. I have just signed the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020, which under regulation 8 give powers to TfL to increase enforcement.”

In the afternoon, Sir David asked a question to the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, in his Statement to the House of Commons on the opening of education settings in the autumn. Sir David asked: “I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement on the autumn opening of education settings. Going to university is an important milestone for many of our young people, but there are real worries about starting or restarting courses this autumn. What measures is he taking and what reassurance can he give to those students?”.

The Secretary of State replied: “I reassure both my right hon. Friend and students who are looking forward to the prospect of going to university in the next academic year about the importance we place on not just the educational offer of universities but the whole experience of going to university. We are working closely with Universities UK and the whole sector to ensure that we have a full and wide, proper opening of all universities so that they can welcome students through their gates. We are seeing a positive increase in the number of young people applying to go to university, and we will work with the sector to deliver on that. As a point of note, revised guidance for the HE sector will be issued later today.”